The following story is the third in a series on how Monroe’s restaurants are weathering the coronavirus pandemic.
494 Main St
Hours: Monday through Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m.
MONROE, CT — Fish is a popular meal on Good Friday and Monroe Social offers Veracious Beer Battered Fish and Chips among the menu options for its curbside and delivery service. The coating is made with beer from Veracious Brewing Company, another town business on Main Street.
“People are very happy to see we used our local brewery to make our fish batter,” said Constantin Crama, owner of Monroe Social. “It’s very popular, especially tonight on Good Friday.”
Patrons can order the individual meal or the family package, which serves from four-to-six people. Crama recently offered family meals to give his customers a good deal during the COVID-19 pandemic, which limited restaurants to takeout and delivery.
Since opening at 494 Main St. in November of 2016, Monroe Social has been a destination for nightlife with a bar area, live music, trivia nights and karaoke.
“It will probably be a while until we can have those gatherings,” Crama said. “Trying to make sure people aren’t getting sick is the most important thing at this point.”
Crama said he and his staff miss seeing their customers enjoy themselves in Monroe Social’s dining room.
“My staff are really, really eager to come back to work and do what we were doing,” he said. “It has definitely put a toll on everybody in this industry. The social aspect is the main part of this business. Taking the social life out of this makes it difficult for people to adjust to their daily life.”
Monroe Social goes curbside
“We were definitely set up for dine-in, so we had to adjust everything,” Crama said. “We changed the kitchen layout to make sure we satisfy the takeout business. We’re very happy that the people around us have been supportive and kept us afloat.”
Monroe Social takes precautions to protect people’s health. Employees have their temperatures taken before starting their shifts and wear masks and gloves — and the restaurant is cleaned regularly.
Patrons are not allowed into the building, so customers picking up takeout place a call on their cellphones when they arrive. After employees bring out food for the curbside service, they go to sanitizing stations set up inside the restaurant.
For deliveries, Crama said, “one driver is trying to cover the whole area, so he’s trying to stay on top of his game.”
Crama continues to look for positive things in this difficult time.
“We definitely have a lot of stuff to learn from this experience,” he said. “We’ve definitely seen people who didn’t try us before, try us now with the takeout option. Right now, I feel there are not as many options for food, so we got a little more exposure.”
Monroe Social has been offering Family Meals that include salad, a pasta and an entree serving four-to-six people for $34.95.
“We’re trying to offer reasonable prices with family options to help the people who help us,” Crama said.
Salad options are either garden or Caesar and the pasta is a choice of penne a la vodka or cheese ravioli. Entree choices include Veracious Beer Battered Fish and Chips, pan roasted salmon or flounder with broccoli and lemon wine sauce, four bacon cheddar burgers and fries, or sautéed chicken breast with onions and peppers with broccoli.
Monroe Social also offers a Family Plan with two entrees for $39.95, three for $54.95 or four for $69.95. All include the same choice of salads with an appetizer and an entree.
Among the appetizer choices are meatballs, cheese ravioli in pink sauce, penne a la vodka, and coconut shrimp.
Dinner choices include:
- Veracious Beer Battered Fish and Chips
- New York strip steak with mashed potatoes and broccoli in a red wine reduction
- A grilled bone-in pork chop with a balsamic glaze, mashed potatoes and broccoli
- A bacon cheddar burger with lettuce and tomato and fries
- Pappardelle Bolognese
- Pan roasted salmon or flounder in a lemon wine sauce with mashed potatoes and broccoli
- Sautéed chicken breast with onions and peppers, broccoli and sautéed spinach or
- Chicken fingers with fries
A dessert can be added for $4 with choices of cheese cake, carrot cake or flourless chocolate cake. A bottle of wine, house red or white, can be added for $12. And a growler of beer can be added. See the website for details.
A new look, menu
Monroe Social is undergoing an interior renovation now that its dining room is empty and once social distancing restrictions are lifted Crama said his restaurant will unveil a new menu with new cocktails.
The new menu will include Veracious Beer Battered Fish and Chips and Crama will find a way to incorporate the family meals.
“I think we’ll definitely come out a little stronger,” he said.
As social distancing efforts take effect, Crama said he sees a light at the end of the tunnel. “We just want to wish everybody a Happy Easter,” he said. “I want to see everybody back healthier and stronger once this is over.”